Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Posted by Bull E. Vard
I must say I had never heard of Grinders until a couple of weeks ago when I found out the great Wilco was going to play there. I love Wilco, but I couldn't figure out why they were going to play such a small venue. I was pretty curious about it. Then the lovely beer girl and Lee (whose blog puts us to shame) alerted me to Grinders. I knew I must go and try the beer selection which Lee raved about in his post. I've been drinking the local types lately, I needed something exotic and Grinders was going to deliver.
Wes and I planned a meet up with another friend, Duvel. I am such a schmuck I didn't even know where Grinders was other than it was in the Crossroads. I looked it up on Google maps and committed a little diddy to memory about 18th and Oak where Grinders is located. I screwed up on the one way streets and ended up parking about a half block away, though parking was available just outside the door. Grinders looked every bit as dingy as the picture from Lee's post.
Wes was hooked up with the Schlafly Pumpkin (on tap) and I was mesmerized by tap handles I'd never seen before. Rogue ales were dominant on the front tap row. I went with the Rogue IPA, I friggin' love a good IPA. I wasn't disappointed. Wes fielded a call from Duvel, who was lost, and directed him the two blocks to the bar. Duvel also ordered the Rogue IPA, a little beer serendipity.
We made our way over to one of the booths and chatted about the Weston Irish Festival, Wes and Duvel were going after our little happy hour drink. We also all perused the rather eclectic menu. I was pretty impressed they have Rohypnol as a pizza topping, perhaps if I were on a date I could get that, but not today. Stella was making dinner at home. Wes and Duvel ordered a couple of items to eat, they had to get geared up for the Irish fest. Wes had a meatball sandwich and Duvel had an order of fried mushrooms, I'm assuming the edible kind not the hallucinogenic kind (although that would really make Irish fest fun).
We each ordered another beer. A quick note for the price conscious, each tap has a different price and if you're not willing to spend $7 on a 12 oz draw, you should ask how much the beer your ordering costs. This is similar to the rule about ordering a single malt at Pierpont's or some other classy bar. Also, the taps are in heavy rotation at Grinders, so a beer that you have on one visit may not be there on your next visit. In the tap row at the back of the bar, they had some more standard options such as all of the Boulevard brothers, including Porter and Lunar, Boddington's and PBR.
As I was sitting there I was still curious about where Wilco was going to play. The menu pointed out the sculpture garden in the back and I figured there must be a stage or something back there so I checked it out. It turns out there's almost a whole city block which is the Grinders backyard. Also a most glorious stage was at the very back of the back yard. Now I know where Wilco was going to play. Bradical Mindspew has a nice recap of the concert on his site.
Wes' sandwich looked glorious, I knew I must go back for lunch to have the Philly cheese steak with Cheez Wiz. We finished up our beers and I made my way home to eat my most glorious home cooked dinner.
I went back to Grinders for lunch today to have my cheese steak sandwich with my works buds, Muddy Mo and Hazed and Infused. Hazed made us drive the 6 blocks over to Grinders, but that was alright since it took a little longer than expected to eat. My cheese steak was pretty good, not quite up to the standards of Chartroose Caboose but much better than chain cheese steaks such as 54th Street and the cheese steak place that's usually found in a food court. Our waitress wore a sleeveless shirt and was all tatted up, which perfectly exemplifies the type of place Grinders is. The service is very attentive, which is unexpected for a dive type artist hangout. It was an overall enjoyable lunch experience. Also, for those who wish to give your local beer blogger a Christmas/Hanukkah present I would be happy to accept the Neko Case framed concert poster that is for sale on the Grinders wall. If that is sold I would happily accept the Decemberists or the Shins. Yet one more great thing about Grinders is art for sale on the walls.
Grinders also has a second Thursday special where you can pay $15 and try 4 unique beers and sample some appetizers. I might try to get a group together to do that next month, that should be fun. I'm definitely going to make Grinders a regular stop on the Bull E. Vard life tour. Go and try a beer you've never had before, it's well worth your time.